La Festa della Pita in Southern Italy. Teacher Lina Pallotta



La Festa della Pita in Southern Italy

April 22–May 5, 2015 | Lina Pallotta

Alessandria del Carretto is a small, picturesque village of approximately 700 inhabitants located in the mountains of the Pollino National Park in Southern Italy. Each year, for two weekends in the spring, the village celebrates La Festa della Pita (The Fir Tree Festival). The origin of the ancient festival is unknown, but one will recognize the symbolism and legacy of a pagan past based on the worship of nature. Our photo journey begins before the festival begins, when the group travels from Rome to Montegiordano by the Ionian Sea in Southern Italy. Our home base will be the Agriturismo Grassetti in Montegiordano. Thursday the group settles in and explores the beautiful surroundings. Friday we set to work looking at your photographs and discuss what to expect the first weekend of the festival and how each student may want to approach photographing it. One aim of this workshop is to provide students with the opportunity to document the festival in the way they would like to: by recording events as they unfold, or working with the landscape, or capturing portraits, or even as a personal journey. On Saturday, we travel to Alessandria del Carretto for the first weekend of the festival; we participate in the festivities of the town on Saturday night, then travel up into the mountains to where the big fir is cut and transported down the mountain by the villagers.

During the week, we edit and discuss our photographs from the first weekend. We visit some Arbëreshë villages, go to the nearby village of Rocca Imperiale, and visit the Svevo Castle for dinner. In addition, we take a day trip to Matera, where we explore the ancient town, the “Sassi di Matera” (meaning “stones of Matera”), the castle, and some churches. The scenery is truly breathtaking, and no description prepares one for the wonderfully surreal landscape. The second weekend, we travel back to Alessandria del Carretto, where the tree brought down the mountain will be raised in the center of town.

This program is open to photographers at every level who are interested in reportage. Students must have a DSLR. A portable computer to download the files is suggested but not required, just make sure to tell us if you don’t bring one with you!

The workshop fee of $4,100 includes lodging (double occupancy), a welcome reception, light lunches and dinners, tuition, critiques, private consultations with the instructor and assistants, field trips, A/R BUS trip ROMA/MONTEGIORDANO, lunch and dinner in Alessandria del Carretto and Matera, dinner in Rocca Imperiale, and a banquet on the last evening. Single rooms are available to early registrants on request for a supplemental fee of $400. A nonrefundable $1,000 deposit is required to reserve your place. The fee does not include the round-trip international airfare. Note: Please do not purchase airline tickets until the trip is confirmed.

Full payment is due March 11, 2015.
©Photo Lina Pallotta

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